Ben is 6 weeks old.
I can’t decide if that feels impossible (wasn’t he born a week ago?), or totally completely exactly right, or maybe even he’s older than 6 weeks (hasn’t he always been a part of our family?). Baby-time is confusing like that.
It’s time to share his birth story.————
Despite not liking hospitals, a homebirth wasn’t what I had envisioned for myself 4 years ago when I was pregnant with Grace. I fully intended to give birth the new-fashioned way. You know, at the hospital, yet still with as little intervention as possible. But, my first labor went from “Hey, I wonder if that’s a contraction?” to “OMG! I’m about to sh*t a bowling ball!” in only 7 hours. There was a 911 call, a public display of nudity, two pushes into daddy’s arms, and the arrival of a stunning and healthy baby we named Grace (followed by a dramatic ambulance ride to the hospital.) It was crazy.
Fast-forward 4 years: I’m pregnant again and planning a home birth. Second babies come even faster. I have visions of being the subject of some TLC show about women who give birth on the sidewalk, at the yoga studio, or in a restaurant. And so my story begins.
BENJAMIN LLOYD BOESCH, Born: 8/15/15 4:35 am
11:00 p.m. I wake up suddenly as a huge gush of water plunges out of me. Is this labor? Ponder. Sit up and see that Brandon is not in bed. Scream down the stairs, “Brandon, my water just broke!” His response: “Seriously?”
11:10 p.m. We Call Leopi and Gingi to let them know it’s happening. They say to call back when I’m having contractions 5 minutes apart.
11:25 p.m. Brandon calls Leopi and tells her that labor has progressed. She says that her water has been turned off so she’s not going to even shower. She is on her way. She tells Brandon to contact Gingi and whoever else we want at the birth. Meanwhile, I text Jessie and my parents to let them know my water broke. I have predicted that I will go into labor today (9/14, a new moon) and I tell Brandon that I might be right. “I hope not” he says. “It’s almost tomorrow.”
12:42 a.m. Contractions are coming on strong. Gingi rubs my back and sets up some essential oils. It really helps. Brandon is also rubbing my back and encouraging me.
Birth Day! August 15
1:30 a.m. Jessie comes over in case Grace wakes up.
2:45 a.m. Leopi and Gingi suggest I get into the shower. I do and stay there for an hour. Magicaly, the water stays hot the whole time. I can’t usually fill the entire tub with hot water before it goes cold on me. The labor gods are with us.
3:00 a.m. Brandon lights some candles in the bathroom. It’s all so romantic. He stays in there with me despite getting so hot he feels as though he might pass out. He occasionally offers me sips of water.
3:45 a.m. I get out of the shower and head to the bed for some reclined contractions. Then I head back to the bathroom, my favorite place to have contractions (I think for the privacy it offers) and also where Grace was born. It feels really good to sit on the toilet. Then I get really cold and ask Brandon to make me a hot water bottle. He does and it’s so comforting. Feels like a warm hug.
4:20 a.m. Pushing contractions are in full swing. Leopi doesn’t have time to call the second midwife so Gingi fills in.
4:32 a.m. I’m on all fours (just like last time except now I’m on the bed.) I get loud and hope that Grace doesn’t wake up. Real loud. Leopi and Brandon make warm compresses for me. Feels so good. With every contractions I think “YES, this is happening now.” Lots of sensation… NONE of which I would describe as “pain.” This pushing part is actually my favorite phase of labor. Leopi and Brandon giggle because every time the head looks like it’s going to pop out it slides back it. Leopi tells me I’m rocking my baby out.
Finally: “Do you want to feel the head?” Leopi asks me.
I do. AMAZING. Our baby is coming.
More pushing contractions. It feels like my body is pushing, but I do not feel like I am actually bearing down. I just let my body do it’s thing and stay very present.
4:35 a.m. My baby emerges. The head comes out first and I hear crying, then that quick slide of the shoulders. In an instant I roll over onto my back and am handed a big, fat, slippery boy. Tears. Laughter. And Grace slept throught the whole thing. Get the camera! Hello, Benjamin Lloyd.
I slowly bring him to my chest, cord dangling, baby in arms, husband and Leopi on the bed. It’s all so surreal. We let the cord pulse for a good 15 minutes until it is time for Brandon to cut it. This was the perfect birth. It was more than I could have ever asked for.
I’m proud of myself for doing something so personally challenging. I gave birth naturally, and at home. It was the most profound and empowering moment of my life (equal to when I gave birth to Grace) and I feel really proud that we made that choice. Not that we always get what we want. But that’s another blog post.